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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  December 25, 2015 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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with scott pelley. >> axelrod: good evening. scott's off tonight. i'm jim axelrod. this is the western edition of the broadcast. survivors of the deadly storms in the south spent this christmas day cleaning up wreckage and giving thanks just to be alive. unusually warm weather spawned an outbreak of tornadoes wednesday that killed at least 14 people, seven in mississippi, six in tennessee, and one in arkansas. a view from above ashland, mississippi, shows some of the homes that were blown to pieces, these with their roofs torn clean off, others completely flattened. mark strassmann is in the disaster zone. >> reporter: this hilltop neighborhood was hit hard by the twister that skipped across holly springs. some homes here were badly damaged. others are completely gone. >> this is bad. this is really bad. >> reporter: sonya wilkins came home to no sign of christmas joy.
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and it's gone. >> reporter: the house she shared with her husband, son, and daughter for the past nine years is scattered among a grove of shattered trees. her 35-year-old son was the only one home when the tornado hit. he's hospitalized with a broken pelvis and cuts. we could have been planning a funeral instead. >> reporter: they searched for family mementos. >> pictures of my mom. she passed away in 2010 and i would look at it every night before i'd go to bed and just say, "good night." i wish i could find that picture, too. >> there's a tornado in front of us! >> reporter: the wilkins' home is one of hundreds destroyed. the youngest victim, seven-year- old nicholas pomeroy, was trapped in a car with his mother and sister. the winds ripped him out of the vehicle. among the six who died in tennessee, three were found in a car submerged in a river. this aerial view of ashland, mississippi, shows the devastation of the most powerful
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it reportedly stayed on the ground for at least 145 miles, packing winds of up to 160 miles per hour. rooftops were completely torn off, trees pulled from the earth, roots and all, scattered cinder blocks stood where homes used to be. barbara williamson was inside her clarksdale home when it shredded around her. >> i don't even know how i'm alive. it's a miracle, it's a christmas miracle. >> reporter: in holly springs, christmas spirit was on full display. donated toys for children who lost their presents in the storm. laverne zinn picked out new gifts for her nieces and nephews. >> the smiles on their face, that made me happy. >> reporter: a hard rain here most of the day kept many families from salvaging what they could. jim, the forecast brightens tomorrow, but sunday could be stormy again. >> axelrod: mark strassmann, thank you. the storms disrupted holiday deliveries, so today was no day
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here's demarco morgan. >> reporter: employees for shipping giant fedex found themselves in overtime playing santa in the air and by ground. joanne baron is a grateful customer. >> elation. annoyance for my husband who i asked to go running back to the apartment to get the packet. >> reporter: fedex predicted a record-breaking holiday season for pickups and drop-offs. 317 million shipments between black friday and christmas eve, a 12% jump from last year. what they didn't predict, mother nature's unexpected delivery of more than a dozen deadly tornadoes across the south, including tennessee, where the company is headquartered. with airports shut down and roads blocked, the company that prides itself with on-time delivery had to work fast to get distribution offices back open and trucks rolling. during the holiday season, every second counts for businesses large and small. jim shock runs a dessert store
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>> with us, a small company doing 5,000 packages, some of the larger companies with the packages they're doing. it's incredible. >> reporter: fedex released a statement: postal workers also got in the act. carly turner pitched in with his coworkers in san jose. >> when everybody is expect a gift and they don't get it and all of a sudden we knock on the door and all of a sudden they get their gift. >> reporter: fedex just released another statement to cbs news, saying their hearts go out to all of the victims in the storms in the southeast, and they say their working directly with the states to deliver aids to those hardest hit areas. >> axelrod: demarco morgan covering for us tonight in manhattan. thank you. for most of the country it was much less a white christmas than a warm one. let's bring in vanessa murdoch. record weather continues. >> another day with record warmth. we're not talking necessarily 70s today but a lot of 60, and
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should be the 30s and 40s, you see is here we did set records and pushed the 70 degree mark. in new york city, a record was set, 66 degrees. the incredible warmth continues. >> axelrod: is the east coast ever going to see winter? >> we do anticipate a little bit of wintry weather next week because of a system right now out west. as we look at the national picture on satellite and radar, what we note is there is snow out to the west associated with this area of low pressure over the four corners. over the next couple of days, through your weekend, it explodes. as that happens, we're talking snow. we're talking snow, excessive rainfall through places like new mexico, texas, oklahoma, arkansas, you see it here. snow, a huge problem across the panhandle of texas, as well as portions of new mexico, 12-18 inches. it doesn't stop there. the wind will be gusting up to 60 miles per hour, blizzard warnings already in effect beginning tomorrow night. they're expecting power outages
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so that's the mass of the snow but as we look toward the rain, it's also going to be a huge problem through portions of oklahoma, into arkansas, missouri, as well, not just rain but severe weather expected from the system. again, it's the same system that could bring a little bit of snow to new england as we head toward into next week. >> axelrod: okay, vanessa, thank you. from the vatican to the white house this christmas, and far beyond, there were prayers for peace and calls for compassion. under tight security, thousands packed st. peter's square for the pope's annual christmas day message. pope francis condemned brutal acts of terrorism, and prayed for an end to wars in syria, libya, and other parts of the world. >> treating one another with love and compassion. >> axelrod: president obama and the first lady urged americans to follow the values jesus lived. >> caring for those on society's margins, the sick, and the hungry, the poor and the
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>> axelrod: great britain's queen elizabeth joined other members of the royal family at church today. the queen offered a message in the times of terror. >> the light shines in the darkness. and the darkness has not overcome it. >> axelrod: and 250 miles up-- >> merry christmas, happy holidays, and happy new year. >> axelrod: american astronaut scott kelly sent greetings to earth. british astronaut tim peake tried to call his wife, but spaced out and dialed the wrong number, later apologizing on twitter to the lady he called by mistake. now to the race for president, donald trump remains the republican front-runner heading into the 2016 election year. the latest national poll has mr. trump at 39%, far ahead of ted cruz, ben carson, and marco rubio. it's a quiet holiday on the campaign trail, but as julianna goldman reports, not a completely silent night.
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donald trump attended midnight mass, a service wishing peace and good will to all. but trump's holiday spirit has its limits. in a string of twitter attacks, the republican front-runner took credit for the obama administration's plan to deport hundreds of illegal immigrants back to central america, ridiculed jeb bush, and said, "i look forward to running against hillary clinton, a totally flawed candidate, and beating her soundly." trump has used an unconventional playbook to dominate the race with insults and controversies. he's remained on top without pollsters or a single tv ad. some cracks may be showing in iowa, where ted cruz is ahead by nine points in the latest cbs news poll. the texas senator spent the last week on a multi-state tour, complete with a santa at every stop. but it's possible that polls are underestimating trump's support. a study earlier this week found he performed six points higher
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versus over the phone with a person on the other end. one reason-- voters may be embarrassed to admit they're backing someone who has been criticized as a racist. >> trump is a bit of an embarrassing person. and so if you think of yourself as a serious-minded, you know, voter, and you like trump, you're not going to want to tell people that. >> reporter: cbs news political analyst jamelle bouie says iowa will test a possible trump effect. >> iowa is a place where unconventional candidates tendpr to do pretty well, and if trump overperforms in iowa i think that gives us a guidepost what might unfold for the remaining season. >> reporter: the candidates are taking a rare few days off for christmas but they'll get back on the campaign trail starting sunday, jim, with just about five weeks to iowa. >> axelrod: julianna goldman with the latest on the race for the white house. thank you. more than a year after we first learned of problems at the phoenix v.a. hospital, they still have not been fixed. a new government report describes long waits for veterans seeking treatment.
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whistle blowers charge the hospital is missing something essential-- enough doctors. >> reporter: ground zero for the veterans affairs wait time scandal was here at the phoenix v.a. hospital. a 2014 inspector general report detailed how thousands of veterans across the country were put on secret waiting lists. whistleblower dr. sam foot maintains at least 40 veterans died in phoenix since april 2013. so two years later, are the problems fixed? >> no. >> reporter: the report did not blame the wait times for the deaths but did call for changes in how the phoenix v.a. schedules appointments. >> a band-aid has been put on this and, therefore, everything is okay. everything is not okay. they still don't have enough physicians and providers to provide medical care. >> reporter: in october, the i.g. released a new report about critical staffing shortages in the urology department from april 2013 to september 2014.
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have a plan to provide urological services and the staffing crisis impacted thousands of patients. >> they killed him. the phoenix v.a. >> reporter: debbie alan's husband, mel, was being treated at that time for bladder cancer. the urology department had to refer the vietnam veteran to an outside hospital. >> there were no doctors in the urology department that were qualified to do that surgery to remove his prostate and his bladder. >> reporter: debbie says it took eight months for the referral to go through. by then the cancer had spread and mel died in march 2014. could that have contributed to mel's death? >> yes. you don't mess around with cancer. >> reporter: the v.a. would not specifically talk about mel allen's case because of privacy issues, but, jim, they did send us a statement saying they have reduced the number of patients on their wait list by hiring additional staff for the urology department, and by also referring patients out to
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>> axelrod: mireya, thank you. coming up next, a singing santa nearly silenced by a dangerous health condition. a rare and beautiful sight in the christmas sky all around the world. and a stylish look for christmas newborns when the "cbs evening news" continues. ya know, viagra helps guys with erectile dysfunction get and keep an erection. talk to your doctor about viagra. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain or adempas for pulmonary hypertension. your blood pressure could drop to an unsafe level. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you
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people sometimes forget to help themselves. the cause is retirement, and today thousands of people came to race for retirement and pledge to save an additional one percent of their income. if we all do that we can all win. prudential bring your challenges >> axelrod: an actor in new york recently cast as a singing santa has been in a frightening real- life medical drama of his own. here's dr. jon lapook. >> from the ground floor apartment to the party up above there's love, love, love. >> reporter: at the john engeman theatre in northport, new york, actor and singer kevin mcguire is kris kringle in the musical adaptation of "miracle on 34th street, where his sweet baritone and rosy cheeks are on full display. it's beginning to look a lot like christmas >> reporter: but that ruddy
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of a serious problem inside his body, one he couldn't put a name to. >> my skin was very red and very purple and i started getting joint pain. a lot of joint pain. >> reporter: and trouble singing? >> definitely. >> reporter: were you worried about your career? >> of course. when your vocal chords are in that kind of distress and you don't know why, that's terrifying. >> reporter: in may 2012, a blood test showed sky-high iron levels and a doctor finally figured out the cause. >> he said, "kevin you had something called hemochromeitosis." >> reporter: what did he say was the problem? >> he said you're rusting from the inside out. >> reporter: the disorder is caused by a genetic reflex that allows to much iron to be absorbed and eventually overloads tissues and organs. symptoms can include abdominal discomfort and loss of libido. more than one million americans have the gene mutation for the disorder but many are never diagnosed. left untreated, the buildup can cause organ damage and even
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mcguire began weekly blood draws that slowly removed the excess iron. it's a simple yet effective remedy that helps restore iron levels to a normal range. >> i've never felt better in my life. i dreamed a dream in time gone by >> reporter: especially now that his vocal pipes are no longer rusting. and as the iron came out of your body and out of your vocal chords, what happened to you as an actor, as a performer? >> well, i can do pretty much just about anything for a long time. from the eagle to the top >> reporter: dr. jon lapook, cbs news, northport, new york. >> axelrod: steve hartman "on the road" is coming up. also ahead, a mixed holiday
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trying to laugh off his mix-up at the miss universe pageant. today he tweeted a picture of himself with a "merry easter" message. harvey has taken plenty of hits since announcing the wrong winner as the m.c. of the pageant last sunday night. children scanning the skies for santa saw something they haven't seen before-- a full moon. the first time there's been a full moon on christmas since 1977. photographers didn't miss a trick documenting it. look at this one, alongside the christmas lights. this is from lebanon, another from lenaxa, kansas. there won't be another full moon on christmas until 2034. and then there are these lovely stocking stuffers. for 35 years now, the st. thomas health system in nashville, tennessee has sent christmas babies home for the holidays all dressed up for the season. there is a similar tradition at the university of pittsburgh medical center, where the newborns are also given caps, hand-knit by local volunteers.
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>> axelrod: we end tonight with a detective who didn't have a clue what was missing until he found it. here's steve hartman "on the road." >> reporter: generally speaking, if you're a kid growing up in pittsburgh, like jesse and josh lyle, the last place you ever want to be is in a courtroom across the table from detective jack mook. >> i do. >> reporter: mook is a by-the- book, no-nonsense, chew-em-up spit 'em out, veteran of the
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outside of work, he's a committed bachelor, a man's man, who had never so much as let a vidalia see his soft side. for fun he hits people and volunteers at the steel city boxing gym teaching the sport to underprivileged kid. >> most of the kids that come in this gym are street kids. many of them have been born into poverty. >> reporter: kids like jesse and his older brother, josh. long before their date in court, jack had been working with them. >> turn that hand! >> reporter: he really liked these kids and knew the feeling was mutual, so when they just stopped showing up at the gym one day, jack went out and found them. >> and he was asking me about it, and then i just cried. >> reporter: what jack didn't know, what no one knew till that moment, was just how bad these kids had it. they were in a foster home with foster parents who, jack says, were extremely abusive and neglectful. >> they have had it as worse as
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in the city of pittsburgh, living conditions-wise. >> reporter: really? >> and that just-- i had enough of it. >> reporter: so jack mook took matters into his own hands, cashed in some favors, and got the kids placed in a new home. >> you want something else to eat? >> reporter: his. for jack, it's been quite an adjustment. >> i'm here in trying to learn my culinary skills, brother. >> reporter: but i get the sense that you're really loving this. >> yes, it's awesome. it's the best thing i ever did in my life. >> reporter: at least it was the best thing, until the day he went to court and did one better. >> they'll be successful. >> reporter: adopted the boys. >> come on, guys. >> reporter: and made them mooks. >> you're a mook, right! you happy? >> reporter: after this story first aired in 2014, we got a lot of e-mail, a surprising amount from women, who wanted to meet this guy. so did you e-mail us? are you one of those? >> no, no! >> reporter: mary says she saw the story but she met him at a bar.
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there. >> yes. >> aah! >> yes for all of america to see. >> i am answering honestly. >> reporter: they were married last summer. she came with three of her own, so now jack and the boys are part of a brady bunch, a family none of them could have ever imagined just a few years ago, jack especially. >> i thought being single was fun because you don't have no responsibilities. but when you're single, you don't realize what you're missing. i'm glad i let her break through that barrier, and take me away from that life. >> reporter: sounds like it wasn't just the boys who were rescued. steve hartman, "on the road," in pittsburgh. >> axelrod: and you can see more of steve hartman's favorite stories from his "on the road" series starting right after our broadcast on our digital broadcast on cbsn, on and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for scott pelley i'm jim axelrod in new york. and for all of us here at cbs news, merry christmas, and good
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access.wgbh.orgchristmas in the desert. valley residents got a special holiday helping of some light snowfall. how some people took advantage of the snow on mount charleston before it's gone...also (( "it never gets old, its a great day here" )) ((paul joncich)) > keeping the spirit of giving alive. how one local organization is making this holiday extra special for children in foster care...also ((paula francis)) (( just trying to keep my confidence up and never give up )) giving back to those in
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